In chapter five of “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle discusses the pain-body. Tolle begins the chapter by suggesting that the body has a mind of its own. The degree that people are trapped by their mind varies from person to person. Some people are able to enjoy periods when they are free from the egoic state and able to enjoy peace and joy. Others are constantly trapped in this state and are alienated from both themselves and other people.
The birth of emotion
Emotion is the body’s reaction to the mind. In Tolle’s view the bodies intelligence is an inseparable part of the universal intelligence. This intelligence is responsible for living organisms response to their environment. Tolle distinguishes between instinctive responses and emotions. An emotion is the body’s response to a thought. Instinctive responses are a direct response by the body to an external situation. Emotion can indirectly be a response to an actual situation. But it is important to distinguish that it is filtered through our mental interpretation. Tolle gives the example of a car being stolen. When we identify the car is being “my car” the emotional response is much more extreme.
Emotions and the ego
The voices that are in our head tells the body a story which it believes in and then reacts to. These reactions can be called emotions. This emotional part of the ego varies in strength from person to person. People are carrying unspoken and unconscious assumptions based on their past conditioning. Tolle gives the example of someone who has an assumption that people cannot be trusted. This can inform both the behaviour and they way they interpret what occurs in the life.
The dark within the human mind
Tolle refers to a story in the “Power of Now.” This is the story of how ducks engage in a fight. Once they have finished the fight they flap their wings vigourously in order to release pent up energy. After they have done this they do not need to keep thinking about the fight that has occurred. Humans in contrast will keep the story of their fight alive in their mind long after the event is actually occurred. Tolle suggests that we need to “flap our wings” in order to let go of the story we are telling ourselves. This will allow us to return to the only place that has power which is the present moment.
Carrying the past
Tolle tells another story of two monks. The monks come across a young woman was trying to cross a muddy streets. One of the monks carries her across to the other side so she doesn’t dirty her kimono. Five hours after the incident one of the other monk asked said why he carried the girl as this was not supposed to be something that makes should engage in. The other monk said I put the girl down hours ago why are you still carrying her. The story illustrates the point that when our memories stay with us and become a burden they become part of our sense of self. In a sense they become our mental prison. Tolle suggests that because we perpetuate old emotions everyone carries with them old accumulated emotional pain which has fed the pain body. We can learn to stop adding to our pain body by stop accumulating and perpetuating old emotions.
Individual and collective
When we have negative emotion we have not faced face it continues to exist in the present moment it does not dissolve. Children will often bring pain with them into their present life as an adult because they never fully accepted and let go of this negative energy. Tolle suggests that the pain body does not exist just in the individual. There is also the collective pain of thousands of years of warfare, enslavement and other types of violence. This is a collective pain which is probably encoded in humans DNA.
How the pain body renews itself
Tolle considers the pain body to be semiautonomous and require replenishing in order to strengthen and survive. The pain body thrives on negative thinking and emotional drama. Essentially the paying body has an addiction to unhappiness.
How the pain body feeds on your thoughts
The pain bodies will latch on to any negative thought which can use to feed itself. Happy and positive thoughts cannot be digested either paying body. Thoughts feed the pain body and in turn the pain body generates more thoughts.
How the pain body feeds on drama
The pain bodies will often try to provoke your partner or other family members in order to create drama. Relationships will often follow a pattern of violent and destructive pain body episodes.
The dense pain bodies
Some people have such a dense pain bodies that they are always hungry for more pain. This magnifies the need for enemies. They are completely unstuck aware and they cannot tell the difference to an event and the reaction to that event.
Entertainment, the media and the pain body
Tolle points out how strange it is that violent films attract such large audiences. He suggests that humans have an addiction to unhappiness. They watch these films because they want to feed that unhappiness. Tabloids serve the much the same function in that they provide food for the pain body. News media in general thrives on negative news.
The collective female pain body
The feminine principle has been suppressed over the last 2000 years. While women have egos the ego grows more easily in male form than in the female. Females are more in touch with the inner body and they retain their instinctive faculties. Over time woman status has been reduced to child bearing and males property. As men denied feminine qualities both within themselves and in the world will world has devolved into insanity and violence.
National and racial pain bodies
Older nations tend to have the strongest pain bodies. In these countries there is often a cycle of perpetuation of violence which renews the pain body continuously. Tolle suggests that the pain body the strongest and groups such as Jewish people, black Americans, and Native Americans which have all been victims of extreme violence and oppression. While humans blame others and keep feeding the pain body with their thoughts they will remain trapped in the ego. There is only one true perpetrator of pain on the planet which is human unconsciousness. When we forgive our identity as a victim dissolves and the power of presence emerges.
Don’t forget to check the other chapters on this amazing book